Caledonia AIA’s ambition to continuously represent Trinidad and Tobago and the region at the CONCACAF Champions’ League remains the club’s highest target.
This after the Caribbean Champions made its Champions’ League debut last season in a group that included MLS outfit Seattle Sounders and Honduran club CD Marathon finishing with just one point from four games.
“It’s our ambition to always represent at the Champions’ League,” Head Coach Jerry Moe told ttproleague.com this week.
Caledonia finished last season’s Digicel Pro League Championship in third position—just outside the top two qualifying zone for the 2013 Caribbean Football Union(CFU) Club Championship which also serves as the Caribbean qualifying competition for the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions’ League.
Caledonia’s only chance of defending its Caribbean crown in 2013 will come if for some reason League winners DIRECTV W Connection or second position finished T&TEC FC were to opt out of the tournament.
T&TEC (39 points) qualified by finishing one point behind Connection (40 points) last season with a high caliber coaching and playing staff, while Caledonia (38 points) followed in third.
But in the 2012-2013 domestic season, following budgetary cuts and very little resources granted, the ‘Electric Boys’ are far less than the high rolling debutants they were last season.
Although reaching the semi-final round of the FA Trophy which will be played against Central FC from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Wednesday, T&TEC currently sits at the bottom of the Pro League standings with just 3 points after 9 matches—1 win and 8 defeats—and also failed to make an impact in the First Citizens Cup and Toyota Classic knockout competitions.
Meantime Caledonia remains focused on winning the Pro League title this season, or worse case a second position finish which also qualifies the club for a place in the 2014 Caribbean Club Championship.
Only last week six top Caledonia players—Densill Theobald, Ataulla Guerra, Trayon Bobb, Nuru Abdullah Muhamad, Walter Moore, Radanfah Abu Bakr—and Defence Force attacker Richard Roy flew out to Turkey for a combine trial accompanied by Caledonia Technical Director Jamaal Shabazz and would face European clubs this week.
The seven players in total are said to be responding well to the training on trial among players from various countries.
Caledonia forward Jamal Gay who had a stint with German second division club Rot-Weiss Oberhausen three years ago is scheduled to join his teammates in Turkey this week.
While defender Kemron Purcell has joined Police FC and veteran striker Conrod Smith is on trial at North American Soccer League(NASL) club Atlanta Silverbacks along with St. Ann’s Rangers December signing Dwane James.
However Caledonia already had its back up plan for this season’s title chase.
The club acquired the services of Antigua and Barbuda internationals, defender Akeem and forward Elvis Thomas along with Guyanese international midfielder Vurlon Mills, Vincentian defender Shemol Trimmingham, Canadian midfielder Miguel Alejardro and Brazilian midfielder Douglas Da Rocha Poroca during the transfer window which ended on Tuesday 15 January.
Akeem, 23, and Elvis, 18, half-brother of Central FC in-transit signing and former San Juan Jabloteh forward Peter Byers all made the switch from USL Professional division club Antigua Barracuda.
“This was in the plans,” said Moe. “We knew that our players would be going out with the possibility of signing with foreign clubs. So we’ve made calculated plans which include brining in quality players that could fit right into the team.”
Akeem started in defense for Caledonia, while Elvis and Mills made second half appearances in last Friday’s goalless draw against Connection at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
“Akeem is a player we know of a long time now by seeing him play for his country and Antigua Barracuda,” added Moe. “He is quality that fits right in. And with Elvis, we know that he is the half brother of Peter Byers and he is a good player. Elvis holds up the ball well for other players to come in. He is strong and has excellent work ethics.”
Caledonia(17 points) currently positioned second on the Pro League standings and 5 points adrift of leaders Defence Force (22 points) will take on the Soldiers from 8pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Friday in a Round Two Match Day Three top of the table clash following a 6pm tie between third positioned Connection (13 points) and sixth positioned St. Ann’s Rangers.
Round Two Match Day Three continues on Saturday at the Ato Boldon Stadium with Police FC against North East Stars from 5pm and T&TEC against Central from 7pm.